Artist talk (NEW DATE): Curator Robert Blake in conversation with artists Arnaud Claass and Penelope Umbrico
Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:30 - 8p with viewing hours 1 - 6:30p

In conjunction with The Eye's Intention: The Photographs and Collages of Arnaud Claass, exhibition curator Robert Blake holds a conversation on photography with artists Arnaud Claass and Penelope Umbrico.

Robert Blake is Director of Special Projects at 601Artspace. Blake is an artist, photographer and educator who founded The General Studies Program at the International Center of Photography and served as its director from 1985 to 2008. Blake is an Emmy award-winning video director and producer. His artistic practice includes making color photographic murals. He has also created performances and installations using sound, film and video projection. An accomplished author, Blake frequently writes for American and international contemporary art and photography journals. He has contributed to exhibition and event programming at 601Artspace since 2008, curating the exhibitions Affinities, Alignments, Collisions (2009) and Cultural Memory Matters (2011) as well as co-authoring the catalog essay for Unspecified Index (2012). Blake’s own work was exhibited in the solo show Suture in 2010; the show included sound sculpture, two-channel video projection, photographs and engraved mirrors with text.

Arnaud Claass is a photographer and writer born in 1949 in Paris and now based in Sens, France. He discovered photography in 1968 after having studied music. In the 70s, coinciding with his first exhibitions and publications, he began to teach and lecture in France and abroad. He was appointed Professor at the Ecole National Supérieure de la Photographie, Arles at the school’s founding. Throughout the course of Claass’ four-decade career, he has explored topics such as fragments and landscapes (i.e., Paysages miniatures and Paysages minutieux, 1977-1982); his own surroundings and autobiography (Continuités, Silences, Enfances, 1982-1990); mineral surfaces and erosion (Lapidaires, 1990-1992); the vulnerability of objects (Précaire, 1992-1996); and the scale of urban settings such as New York. In addition to his black and white photography, Claass has completed three bodies of works in color: Mémoire Vive, a meditation on the visual complexities of our visual environment; Nuit Optimale, a set of out-of-focus, nearly abstract pictures of artificial light sources; and Heure Locale, a series dedicated to objects of daily life.

In addition to his practice of photography, Arnaud Claass is an active writer and editor. He was a critic for La Nouvelle Critique (1973-1976) and a co-founder and editor of both Contrejour (1976) and the journal Les Cahiers de la Photographie (1981). He has served as an editor of Infra-mince, the journal of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles. Among his many publications is the recent book, Le Reel de la Photographie (Éditions Filigranes, Paris, 2012), in which the author discusses photography, its singularities and its relationship to other arts. His latest text, Le Temps dans La Photographie, will be available in October 2014 from the French publisher Éditions Filigranes. A text that mines philosophical and critical aspects of photography and dissects how we relate to its rapidly changing practice, Of Time in Photography is being translated into English concurrent with the exhibition at 601Artspace. The exhibition, an accompanying artist talk and the forthcoming publication hope to offer the American audience an opportunity to better know this significant contemporary French artist and thinker.

Penelope Umbrico is a photo-based artist whose work explores the ever-increasing production and consumption of photographs on the web. Umbrico has exhibited internationally and her work is in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Museum of Modern Art, NY; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. She is the recipient of numerous awards including a recent Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. Her monograph, "Penelope Umbrico (photographs)" was publisehd by Aperture in 2011 and her forthcoming monographs include Range (Aperture 2014) and Out of Order (RVB Paris 2014). She is represented by Mark Moore Gallery in the US.

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